They come to mind immediately as examples of megalomaniac and brutal despots or dictators. Are all dictators ruthless despots?
- She is Queen Ranavalona 1 of Madagascar. During her reign from 1828-1861 she terminated 50% of the population of Madagascar (from 5 to 2,5 million) through her atrocities. Tough bird!
Are There Good Dictators too?
Yes, at least one in ancient Rome.
Dictator was a title with a good sound in the ancient Roman Republic (509 BC-27BC) until Julius Caesar (49-44 BC). Roman consuls or generals like Cincinnatus (529-430 BC) were given the title Dictator with limitless powers only for a certain period. They usually returned the power after the mission was accomplished.
- Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia
- Deng Xiaoping of China
- Józef Piłsudski of Poland
- Napoleon Bonaparte of France
- Park Chung-Hee of South Korea are such dictators.
Sometimes dictators are validated by the Supreme Court of the country as Pervez Musharaf of Pakistan (from 1999-2004) was or highly controversial plebiscites validate them like Pinochet did in 1980 in Chile.
- Vodca (Leader) – Jozef Tiso (1939-45) dictator of Nazi supported Slovakia.
- Vozhd (Russian for "Chief". Stalin as the Chief or the guide for the working class)
- Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriy, Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution - Muammar Al Gaddafi of Libya.
- Maximillien Robbespierre’s supporters called him “The Incorruptible”. The rest of France called him “Dictateur Sanguinaire” (French for Bloodthirsty dictator).
- The craziest title for a dictator goes to Idi Amin of Uganda – “President for Life, Field Marshall, Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular” - Wow! Nothing less.
- Raúl Castro succeeded his brother Fidel Castro in Cuba
- Ilham Aliyev succeeded his father in Azerbaijan in 2003
- Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti succeeded his uncle Hassan Gouled Aptidon in 1999
- Egypt’s Hosni Mubarrak plans to shift power to his son Gamal Mubarrak upon his death.
- Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has only two daughters and his (former) hairdresser wife is a mega shopaholic so son-in-law Sakher al-Materi will probably inherit power unless the whole circus is ousted pretty soon in popular uprising.
How Dictators Want To Be Seen
“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
If you want to get rid of a dictator, there is advice on Different Ways to Get Rid of Dictators.
Due to demands by readers, we really have to include the Chilean Augusto Pinochet among the dictators. Two of his most famous sayings sum up typical dictator thoughts:
- I regret and suffer those losses, but it's God's will. He will pardon me if I committed excesses, but I don't think I did.
- I'm not a dictator. It's just that I have a grumpy face.